A week ago I mentioned some stuff I was going to try to do every day for the month as a sort of reboot of New Years Resolutions. As if biking, walking, yoga and writing every day for years weren’t enough! So this is a short update on four things that I’ve added (or re-added) to my longer list of healthier habits. So far, so good.
Setting goals and making new habits have helped me in a lot of ways. But it’s not easy, it’s time-consuming, and tiring. So I try to simplify things. The first thing I did was a little time management. I had to keep things realistic. By deciding to limit my biking this year, I’ve opened up time in my schedule to introduce new habits. The next part of that was to put the things I wanted to make into new habits on my calendar. So I get bells going off as reminders and also have color-coded blocks. Next was to make it easier with visual clues, like putting the foam roller right next to the yoga mat. A tiny little shift like that seems trivial, but when it’s something you don’t want to do, it’s easy to forget when it’s “out of sight, out of mind.” Last was to commit to the goal while also realizing that they’re only for a short time. I gave myself permission that if I had to skip a night, it wouldn’t that a big deal. Regular is more realistic than daily, after all.
Eating salad every day doesn’t seem like that big a deal for many, but it sure is when you don’t like making or eating salad. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it’s not been that big a deal. And I like or at least tolerate them. I might switch this up to mean just eating more vegetables every day. A salad a day keeps at least some doctors away. I’m not sure which one. Is there a salad doctor? Probably a gastroenterologist, or worse, a proctologist. Try to avoid those.
Flute practice is just for fun. Like with the yoga mat and foam roller so they will beckon to me, I left my flute music, stand and instrument in a visible place. Because I enjoy playing, when the timer goes off after 15 minutes, I usually keep going. I also mix it up by trying to play along with songs on a music streaming station, sheet music I have, and just basic scales and long note practice. There’s no real goal with this but it might be fun to play again with others or even in public someday — IF I get decent enough again. That seems unlikely, but it’s not the point. One advantage which yoga and biking have given me is increased lung capacity; I can hold notes a long time, and practicing will make that even better.
As for foam rolling, using it is a form of torture that is still legal in the US, at least. In fact, people pay money to buy the torture devices — I mean solid tube of hard styrofoam. When John Cougar Mellencamp wrote his hit song “Hurts So Good,” it must have been after a foam rolling sesh. I know, it’s not really torture, and I don’t mean to minimize actual “enhanced interrogation.” But it really does hurt a whole heckuva lot to try to smooth out the Oat bands and other tendons and muscles when you bike as much as I do. The aches and pains I’ve been having lately got annoying enough, and with the lack of any massage therapists in A Dude’s abode, there wasn’t another good option. So I set a timer for just five minutes and starting easing into it, and then applt more pressure as I can stand it. When the timer goes off I keep going because it works. The great thing about torture, I mean foam rolling, is that it doesn’t hurt as much when you stop. In fact the fascia and muscles and so on appreciate me working the kinks out of them.
I bailed on strength training the whole month of February thanks to two problem areas. One is okay and the other is getting better, so I decided there was not a good excuse to not just do this every day for 15 minutes this month. I alternate days woth upper and lower body using resistance bands, and so far it’s a good thing. In combination with yoga, it’s a logical path. What health gains it will lead to I’m not sure, but it’s worth pursuing because even just maintaining muscle takes work. As we get older, we lose muscle mass, so keeping them moving is the best way to prevent or reduce that.
Well, that’s not too shabby for a week of effort. Let’s see if I can keep it going for the month. After that, who knows? At some point I might ought to go back to getting more sleep and doing less exercise. How about you?
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